The fifth annual Dolman Best Travel Book Award, given for a literary work "in the tradition of great travel writing, combining a personal journey with the discovery or recovery of places, landscapes,
or peoples," was awarded yesterday to Ian Thomson. The Scottish author received the twenty-five-hundred-pound prize (approximately $3,800) for The Dead Yard: Tales From Modern Jamaica (Faber and Faber, 2009), a narrative that observes a postcolonial Jamaica "that's neither the rum and reggae of Disneyfied Montego Bay nor the 'guns, guns, guns' of Kingston's slums" often depicted in stories about the country, according to a review in the Guardian.
Earlier this year, Thomson's book received the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize, which honors a work that evokes the spirit of a place. "His candid portrait—vigorous, illuminating and sometimes shocking—allows Jamaica to speak for itself," the Ondaatje Prize judges said. "This is the best kind of travel writing: stimulating, educative, and evocative."
Other books that were shortlisted for the Dolman Award, given only for a work released by a U.K. publisher, are:
Along the Enchanted Way by William Blacker (John Murray)
A Single Swallow by Horatio Clare (Chatto & Windus)
Eleven Minutes Late by Mathew Engel (Macmillan)
Lost and Found in Russia by Susan Richards (I. B. Tauris)
Out of Steppe by Daniel Metcalfe (Hutchinson)
Tequila Oil: Getting Lost in Mexico by Hugh Thomson (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
The 2010 judges were Jonny Bealby, Ben Fogle, Candida Lycett Green, Michael Jacobs, Dan Linstead, and Brett Wolstencroft.